Israel’s battle with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza exceeds one week. It may not end soon. The citizens of Israel most impacted by the daily rocket attacks (nearly 4000!) are those who live in the “Gaza envelope,” very close to the Gaza borders, but towns across Israel have also been hit, some many times. Are Israelis physically exhausted, psychologically exhausted, and scared? Yes. Do they want Israel to sign a ceasefire today or tomorrow? No. What Israelis want is a different paradigm in their country, which will lead to a better, more peaceful relationship with the Gazan Arabs.
For that to happen, the Islamist terrorists’ hold on Gaza must be broken. Since there is no chance of that yet without a full-scale war, more pressure must be applied by the IDF on the jihadists. Unfortunately, they are hard to pressure because JIHADISTS DON’T CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO GAZAN’S. In fact, they are not deterred by the civilian deaths resulting from Israeli fire power. Rather, civilian deaths are an advantageous arrow in their propaganda quiver putting blame on Israel for the carnage. Lost in the shuffle is the indisputable fact that the conflagration engulfing Gaza and Israel was started by Gaza’s firing rockets on Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Ironically, the Palestinian Arabs claim Jerusalem as Islam’s third holiest city, a city with a large Arab population which the jihadists rained rockets onto indiscriminately.
Hundreds of deaths and thousands of wounded Arabs have resulted from Israel’s defense of its residents, Jewish and Arab. So far, ten Israelis have been killed, ten Jews and two Arabs, plus two Thai agricultural workers. What’s wrong with this picture? Clearly, not enough Jews have been killed according to many individuals, organizations and even countries. According to many people’s skewed “logic,” the party with fewer deaths is obviously the guilty party, the aggressor. The party with many more deaths is obviously the innocent victim, suffering from the cruel oppressor.
For example: Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: “Israeli airstrikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid.” (May 11, 2021 / Jewish Journal)
“[TV personality Trevor] Noah ultimately chose to ignore the complicated origins of Israel vs. Palestine, maintaining that regardless of how the conflict began, it’s no longer a fight between two equals. The host called out Israel for having “one of the most powerful militaries in the world,” saying, “they can crush Gaza like that,” and clenching his fist to illustrate his point. … All I’m asking is, when you have this much power, what is your responsibility?” (www.vanityfair.com)
What is one supposed to make of comments like those above. Blame for a conflict can’t be gauged by counting fatalities on each side. By that measurement, the US was the aggressor in WWII. Trevor Noah answers his own question about responsibility when he correctly identifies Israel as having a very potent military. Obviously, Israel could devastate all of Gaza in a few hours if it didn’t care about minimizing Arab deaths. Instead, Israel puts every operation through rigorous tests before initiating action. Even so, in war, things don’t always go right.
Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland Abdalmajid asked, “‘How many Palestinians have been killed so far?’ The comparison is not equal. The international community has a ‘great responsibility’ to protect the Palestinian people from attacks.” The ambassador’s call for “equal deaths” is even more obtuse. (www.newstalk.com 5/13/21)
If that were the standard, then the US acted disproportionately in killing so many Germans in WWII. Bad America! Why didn’t it tell Hitler that the huge Operation Overlord invasion would take place in Normandy? Not fair!
Yes, there are many more deaths in Gaza than in Israel. How could there not be? Israel spends a huge amount of its yearly budget to defend its citizens. Hamas, which rules Gaza, spends no money to defend its citizens. Instead it spends donations from individuals, organizations (UN, EU), many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), countries (IRAN, Qatar, Turkey, US, various European countries) on offensive weapons, tunnels, rockets, mortars, drones, etc. Not only that… it locates its intelligence and logistic departments, rocket launchers, and weapons caches in Gaza’s residential and commercial neighborhoods. The idea is, that when Hamas/Islamic Jihad fires weapons indiscriminately to kill as many Jews as possible (war crime #1), its military will be protected by human shields (war crime #2).
What about “proportionality,” a term used to discredit Israel’s defense against thousands of rockets unleashed upon it.
“The Law of Land Warfare, specifies, ‘Those who plan or decide upon an attack, therefore, must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the objectives are identified as military objectives or defended places within the meaning of the preceding paragraph but also that these objectives may be attacked without probable losses in lives and damage to property disproportionate to the military advantage gained.’ The reference to the manual’s preceding paragraph is noteworthy. There the list of acceptable targets is rather broad, including defended cities and towns, factories, warehouses, ports, railroads, and other places that offer an enemy a military advantage or accommodation, all venues that by their very nature could have large civilian populations. The proportionality rule does not negate attacks on such facilities so long as a reasonable military necessity exists and that necessity can be reasonably balanced against anticipated civilian casualties.”
This week may bring a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel. (Islamic Jihad remains a shadowy presence.) The advantage of surprise that Hamas had at the beginning of this conflict dissipated quickly and Gaza’s infrastructure and weaponry have been mightily degraded. But the terrorist leaders (those who weren’t killed) won’t suffer too much – after they rebuild their luxurious villas. Hopefully, Hamas and Islamic Jihad will be deterred similarly to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which fears Israel’s retaliation since its devastation after attacking Israel in 2006. That’s about the best conclusion that I can see from the latest jihadist misadventure . We thank God for protecting Israel!